Everyone feels down about themselves from time to time, especially if you feel like others are doing better in life than you are. It’s common to feel that way. But if this is a constant feeling and you’re acting out in ways that are harmful to you or others, experts say, you may have an inferiority complex.
“We all know the term inferiority complex as it relates to cultural references, however few realize how it manifests in a person’s daily life,” NYC-based psychotherapist, Alana Barlia, LMHC, tells Bustle. “The term inferiority complex comes from founder and father of Individual Psychology, Alfred Adler. It’s basically a term used to denote an intense feeling of not belonging, or a feeling of being less than.”
According to Barlia, an inferiority complex can come from a person’s experiences. For instance, a person may develop it by growing up in an “invalidating environment,” in which parents, siblings, and others around them say things that make a child feel inferior or less than.
As you can imagine, these types of childhood experiences can affect your thoughts and behavior as an adult. Because it’s a “subconscious experience,” Barlia says it typically presents itself differently based on the individual. So here are some signs you may have an inferiority complex, according to experts.